One of the most well-known threatened species in the world, the giant panda, is no longer classified as endangered as conservationists hail successful, integrated efforts to help the now-'vulnerable' species. However, even with the work that went towards the reclassification, the famous black and white bears are still at risk.
A nationwide census in China during 2014 found that the panda population in the wild had risen by 17% in a decade to 1,864. Marco Lambertini, director general of wildlife charity the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), known for its panda logo, called it an "exciting moment".
"The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity," said Lambertini, adding that the giant panda had been a global conservation icon for more than 50 years.
"Everyone should celebrate this achievement but pandas remain scattered and vulnerable, and much of their habitat is threatened by poorly planned infrastructure projects," said WWF China CEO Lo Sze Ping, adding: "and remember: there are still only 1,864 left in the wild."
"Evidence from a series of range-wide national surveys indicate that the previous population decline has been arrested, and the population has started to increase," stated the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, though it added that there are issues with the data collected, stating that population estimates have "consistently increased".
The IUCN says that available habitat has increased, with an 11.8% increase in habitat with pandas living in it and a 6.3% increase in suitable habitat that has not yet been populated. Though they also note that climate change is predicted to destroy more than 35% of the bamboo habitat preferred by pandas.